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5 Old School Hobbies that Will Help You Stay Stress-Free

5 Old School Hobbies that Will Help You Stay Stress-Free

Ah, the hectic lifestyle that we all lead in the 21st century! It leaves nothing to the imagination simply because we have no time for imagination. We are all busy with our schools, jobs, practices, family chores, etc. Sometimes, we just need to take it down a notch, relax, and let the stress and the pressure of such hectic lives just flow out of our bodies.

However, it is not always possible to simply wind down. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t stop thinking about all the obligations that you have. The brain (that stubborn little piece of gray matter that won’t work with you sometimes, even though it’s supposed to be you) needs some distraction- something that will occupy it and make it forget all about the troubles both ahead and behind. Taking up a hobby is a perfect way to do this. It will give you something fun to do while relieving you of the obligations of the serious stuff in life.

The benefits of having something to do in your free time are numerous from helping you take a break, making you physically active, to producing eustress (which is a “positive” kind of stress that keeps you excited about life).

Of course, you can’t just pick any hobby and stick with it. If you don’t like it, it will never work. The point is to find something that you like doing. This way a hobby will be a stress-relief. Here are some of my recommendations for something to do in your spare time which are both productive and stress-relieving.

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1. Start writing

Every list that I’ve seen on the internet regarding hobbies does not fail to mention reading books and listening to music as something that you can do for relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, these are great hobbies, but you can take it a step further and really engage the creative side of your brain.

If you start writing you will get a window into a completely new world- a world that you shape and where everything is according to your rules. You don’t have to be an expert writer. Write whatever you want not caring about a single literary device. There are no rules if it is just a hobby. At the same time, it will give you a way to write down your sorrows and the things that keep you on edge. It can also give you a way to examine and thereby deal with those things, if you are creative enough.

The best thing about this is that it is practically free. All you need are some pieces of paper and a pen (writing on your computer is not as relaxing as you’d think). The feel of actually writing is incomparable to anything else. If you are unsure how to start there are creative writing classes available, most of them for free usually as a part of a larger program.

2. Gardening

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    My sister and I are two very different people. For example, while I’m writing this, she’s in the garden plucking the grass, watering the already grown plants and planting new ones. I could never do something like that (I don’t like to get dirty), but I can see the happiness of having a well-nurtured garden in her every move when she’s outside. She does not tire from all the digging, bending, plucking and all the other activities connected to this.

    When I ask her how this activity relaxes her, she says it’s all in the subtle symbolism of the flowers and what feelings it evokes in her. She also says that she can activate both the left and the right side of the brain as nurturing the plants needs analytical skills, while arranging them requires creative thinking. Add to this the fact that it provides regular physical activity and you’ll see that she’s right – it really can do wonders for your mind and change your life for the better.

    Also, did I mention that you can actually provide for your family this way? There is a woman in Italy who manages to provide for a family of five by producing everything on her own, in her garden. The whole family lives on €5 per day (that’s €150 per month – for comparison, Italy’s minimum wage is €800), but they have everything they need from bread to soap, all homemade and- most of it- from what is grown in the garden. While what she’s doing is more than a hobby, it just goes to show how productive gardening can be.

    3. DIY

    There are some (like my sister) who dislike writing and think that they have no talent for it, and there are others (like me) who dislike gardening because of the dirt, the hard work and the insects. For those who dislike both, there are other options. Are your hands crafty? Have you tried making things on your own?

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    Doing it yourself does not always mean making things completely from scratch. You don’t have to be a carpenter and carve a piece of furniture out of a tree trunk all on your own (although, if you think you can do it, go for it, but take some lessons first). You can choose simpler things which will still give you something to do and think about. For example, you could refurbish what you already have. The idea does not have to be yours. There are plenty of suggestions for DIY things online.

    I have found some ideas for hand painted wine glasses and- being an artistic soul- I sat down and re-decorated all my wine glasses. While I was doing it, I was focused on the task and it made me oblivious of all the other problems in life.Whenever I’d drink from them, I’d be delighted that I’ve managed to create something new and exciting out of something that I’ve been looking at for years. All it took was a few dollars’ worth of acrylic paint and some time to focus on the painting, and that was it.

    4. Hiking

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      When you mention hiking, some people immediately think of a person climbing up a tall mountain with 45-50 pounds of gear strapped to their back, but this is just one way to do it. For the less hardcore out there,( e.g. people like me who can only spare an hour a day for fun physical activities), there are easier trails available. If you have your gear ready to go and live near some good hiking trails, you can hike nearly every day without messing up your hectic daily schedule.

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      While running or some exercise should be done daily for the sake of your health, they can be monotonous activities. Hiking on the other hand, can take you places you’ve never been before away from the urban jungle of your city/town and into unspoiled nature.

      Wherever in the world there is elevated ground, there are hiking trails available. It can even be something as simple as a long walk up a small hill. What’s better, most of these trails are free – all you need is to join a couple of hiking enthusiasts who will take you along. Once you’re at the top of that hill, you’ll feel free like never before and you’ll forget all about the stress that’s been gnawing at your mental health.

      5. Sewing and knitting

      Finally, for those among you who are physically active enough (constantly living on a hectic timetable can be an extremely tiring activity on its own), settling down in a chair and working with your hands only probably sounds like a 5-star-hotel holiday. That’s exactly what knitting and sewing bring to the table. Add to that the fact that you can create your own wear and be your own fashion designer – what else does a woman need?

      Knitting is something that you don’t need to invest much in, although it is a bit more complicated than sewing. You need to buy some down and learn some knitting patterns and you’re good to go. However, it takes great skill with your hands to make every pattern as good as it should be.

      Sewing, on the other hand, will probably require you to purchase a sewing machine (there are even special sewing machines for beginners), but having a machine will make the work much easier (for those who are a bit clumsy with their hands). Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll be able to give a proud answer of “Oh, this? I’ve made this!” when people ask you where you bought that wonderful and unique dress.
      In my opinion, hobbies should be somewhat old-fashioned. This will help us stay in touch with nature and take a step back from the ever-more-frenetic world that we live in. Life used to be a lot slower-paced way back when there were less technological marvels around. Adopting some traits from those simpler times will help your brain defragment, improving relaxation and stress-relief, thus helping you cope with all the hardships that everyday life brings.

      Featured photo credit: http://unsplash.com/post/93258573139/download-by-s-zolkin via pexels.com

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      Katarina Milovanovic

      Creative Writer

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      Last Updated on November 20, 2018

      10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

      10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

      A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

      Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

      1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

      Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

      If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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      2. You put the cart before the horse.

      “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

      3. You don’t believe in yourself.

      A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

      4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

      The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

      5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

      If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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      6. You don’t enjoy the process.

      Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

      The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

      7. You’re trying too hard.

      Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

      8. You don’t track your progress.

      Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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      9. You have no social support.

      It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

      10. You know your what but not your why.

      The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

      Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

      Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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      Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

      Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

      Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

      • The more specific you can make your goal,
      • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
      • The more encouraged you’ll be,
      • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

      I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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